Payroll Processing and Reliable Data

South Central Kansas Special Education Coop
Enrollment: 1,500

Case Studies > Payroll Processing and Reliable Data

If your human resources team could cut your payroll processing time in half while also improving accuracy and accountability, is this something that would interest you? While it may sound far-fetched, a recent survey shows that 51% of organizations are still using paper timesheets. That number seems surprisingly high in this day and age, when so many technology solutions are available to automate processes for K-12 schools and districts.
With a paper timekeeping process in place and hundreds of employees across eight different counties, South Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative (SCKSEC) recognized they needed to make some changes to improve internal controls and accountability. While some long-time employees initially had reservations about the move to an automated payroll, the cooperative knew its manual time sheets, complicated workflows, and inaccurate calculations were not a sustainable solution.
According to Nicole Huff, human resources manager at SCKSEC, the transition to Skyward’s School Business Suite provided some much-needed relief and accountability for all employees. Payroll processing was reduced from over two weeks to just three days. What’s more, employees were more accountable for hours worked, and budget numbers were readily available for the administration team so they no longer had to spend hours consolidating data from multiple reports.


Increasing Employee Accountability

Before introducing its automated timekeeping system, employees at SCKSEC recorded their hours using monthly timesheets. If employees had to backtrack and estimate how many hours they worked during previous weeks, they often entered their best guesses and rounded up or down which led to a lot of inaccuracies.
According to Nucleus Research, the average organization’s payroll error rate is 1.2%. While that number doesn’t seem like much, these inaccuracies, whether by rounding up the numbers or making a few honest mistakes, can really add up over time.
“There was no accountability prior to Skyward,” Huff stated. “In education, you’re working with as little money as possible. You can’t afford to be paying extra hours because employees aren’t being held accountable.”
SCKSEC eliminated overpayments by implementing Skyward’s True Time (time and attendance) feature. Some employees that were previously logging 40 hours of work per week were now finding out that they had been working less than what was required of them. In some instances, employees were getting paid for lunch without administrator knowledge. Conversely, some other employees discovered they had unknowingly been working more than the hours they had been reporting each month.
Having the ability to examine data from True Time allowed the staff at SCKSEC to troubleshoot the problems and improve accountability immediately. “There have been some really awesome employees working past their work agreement and not reporting those hours. Moving forward, we need to compensate them for that. It goes both ways,” explains Huff.


Improving Workflow Processes

Before Skyward’s School Business Suite was implemented, payroll for SCKSEC was a cumbersome process. “By the time a timesheet was received in our administrative office, it had been touched at least six different times,” Huff explained. Once received, human resources personnel had to check that timesheets were turned in and that the calculations were accurate. When employees miscalculated their hours, staff lost even more time processing the timesheet.
Implementing Skyward’s Payroll and True Time unified the three systems SCKSEC was using for contracts, budgets, and payroll in addition to saving valuable time for staff. “The stack of papers we used for these processes was over half a foot high,” Huff said. “Now with True Time, the same process that took weeks takes a maximum of three days and the stack of papers is all but gone.”
By using payroll automation, one study found that up to 80% of processing costs can be reduced due to eliminating errors. SCKSEC was no exception, as they were able to reduce their annual payroll by 1,000 hours. “If you do the math, Skyward pretty much paid for itself in what we saved,” said Huff. “To give our employees raises and still be under our payroll from last year is really good.”
In addition to its payroll workflow process, SCKSEC was also able to minimize the phone calls coming in to their human resources office on a daily basis. Employees were regularly calling the cooperative’s office about time-off balances and payroll questions. Now, with Skyward’s School Business Suite, employees can control their information and requests by logging in to the employee portal, minimizing calls to the office.


Making Data-Driven Decisions

Before implementing Skyward’s School Business Suite, SCKSEC struggled with locating data and preparing reports to provide to their board. Today the cooperative is able to identify where they are in terms of their budget, visualize data as graphs, and easily provide quarterly reports in minutes. These same tasks previously took two weeks to complete manually. “I’m so excited to see what we will find over the course of a year,” Huff said.
Prior to Skyward, SCKSEC didn’t have accurate employee attendance data. “Because our employees are so spread out, it has helped to see when someone has been out for a prolonged period of time,” explained Huff. Recently, the cooperative identified that they had almost 40 employees scheduled to be off on the same day, a trend they wouldn’t have identified in the past without Payroll or True Time.
“The successes speak for themselves,” explained Huff. “It’s truly a fantastic system. Being able to readily show our board members data puts things into context,” she added. As SCKSEC continues to use Skyward over time, the data will only become more powerful as a reference point.
The South Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative is proof that a culture built on accountability can be achieved in a short amount of time by investing in an innovative technology solution. With accuracy and efficiency greatly improved, SCKSEC is planning to implement Skyward’s Substitute Tracking feature and has set a new goal of going completely paperless next school year. 

Follow-up resource: School Business Suite 

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